How to Implement Highly Effective Diversity Strategies in the Workplace

People who manage people want to nurture an inclusive work environment, and yet many business owners and organisations struggle to implement effective strategies that achieve the result they’re looking for.

Below, we’ll outline in detail what exactly is workplace diversity and how you can implement a highly effective strategy, so your workplace becomes truly inclusive while operating on a mutual understanding based on respect and kindness.

What is workplace diversity?

Workplace diversity refers to creating a workplace environment that is equitable and inclusive – in other words, an environment where everybody feels like they are welcomed, valued, respected, and part of the same team.

Companies with workplace diversity make a conscious effort to employ a wide array of individuals, including people of different ages, races, religions, political views, cultural backgrounds, sexual identities, education levels, genders and more.

How to build an effective workplace diversity strategy

Below is your guide to developing a strategy that ensures workplace diversity stays integral to your entire operation.

When hiring

First, your recruitment process needs to be appealing and inclusive to all. Here are some tips:

  • Advertise job positions in ‘diverse job’ locations. This may include making a conscious effort to advertise on places other than just Seek, Indeed, or your website. It can include places such as universities, schools, and lesser-known job boards specifically tailored to different job seekers such as disability employment services.
  • Highlight diversity, equity and inclusion on your company’s website, and anywhere else your company promotes its branding and values.
  • Have a diverse interview panel, this will allow your organisation to work towards equity and fairness.

When managing

Next, the only way to truly manage a diverse and inclusive workplace is to not only promote it as a value but to incorporate it as a practice. Here are some tips:

  • Create diversity-friendly policies, which could include policies promoting flexible schedules, extra leave options, and running recreational activities. This will also include making sure the benefits you provide to existing employees are fair to all.
  • Set up a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Working Group – organisations have an array of experience, skills, and knowledge amongst their employees. Encourage those interested to form a working group to lead, manage and support DE&I in your organisation.
  • Introduce DE&I training – train your employees to recognise and address DE&I issues arising at work.
  • Establish a mentor system, whereby one person acts as a mentor to another with the aim of helping them identify, address and practice diversity at work every day.
  • Have managers undertake inclusive leadership training and promote the six Cs of an inclusive leader in the workplace. An inclusive leader is committed, courageous, conscious of bias, culturally aware, curious, and collaborative.


When promoting

There is no use in having a diversity strategy if nobody knows about it. You should also make a conscious effort to promote your DE&I work, both internally within your organisation and externally. Here are some tips:

  • Organise events that specifically celebrate differences between one another, including the celebration of different holidays (for example, Diwali, Chinese New Year, or Hannukah) and identities (such as those who identify as LGBTQI, and people with different cultural backgrounds)
  • Promote your values through marketing, including on your website, in print, and also through internal communication channels.
  • Support and encourage staff to volunteer at different organisations that work to serve more underprivileged members of the community.

Learn more from a diversity expert

Cherry Pennycuick is a Diversity Coach who has been managing high-performing teams and implementing Diversity Strategies in various organisations for over 20 years.

Cherry’s consulting practice helps individuals, businesses and organisations understand how to implement DE&I strategies across their workplace, so they embrace the benefits of leading a diverse team full of highly effective people.

Get in touch with Cherry here or schedule a discovery call with them here, so you can learn more about making your workplace a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and happy one. 😊

Diversity Equity Inclusion

Essential Strategies for Successful Diversity and Inclusion Programs in the Workplace

#1 Sell the Why

One of the fundamental strategies to kick start a successful Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) program in the workplace is selling the why to the organisation.

Key to D&I program success is getting engagement at all levels throughout your organisation.

You need to sell the why to your board. You need to sell the why to your senior leadership team. You need to sell the why to your managers. You need to sell the why to your employees. And it may even be beneficial to sell the why to your customers.

So why should we have a D&I program in our workplace?

Depending on the group, your response will be slightly different. Let’s look at the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) for two stakeholder groups.


The Board, CEO and Management may be asking why should we invest in D&I?

And the response … D&I strategies are good for business. Research shows that the more diverse an organisation, the better it performs (McKinsey & Company, 2015). Research from Diversity Council Australia’s (DCA) Inclusion @ Work Index in 2019 found that inclusion is very good for business.

The staff may be asking why should we have D&I strategies in the workplace?
And the response … the more inclusive a workplace, the healthier and happier the staff. Research says that employees from inclusive organisations and teams are much more satisfied and fulfilled in the workplace (DCA, 2019).

If people in the organisation understand the WIIFM, they are much more likely to participate and support D&I initiatives. Moreover, the why do D&I in the workplace is an easy sell, it just makes good business sense. Better financial outcomes and improved experience for staff.

Consider selling the why early on in your D&I journey, the earlier you can, the smoother and more successful your program will be. Backing up your reasons with research and references for further information will give your messaging more validity and allow staff to broaden their knowledge should they wish.

Selling the why to the board, management and employees is fundamental to implementing successful programs. This will allow you to get buy in, engagement and support for the initiatives, consequently making it much easier to implement and achieve beneficial D&I outcomes for all.

Cherry Pennycuick is a Diversity Consultant and Coach based in Sydney, Australia serving individuals and businesses world-wide.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and/or your business.